[whatwg] 2.3 editorial: operators, operations, or ?

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon Aug 24 20:48:11 PDT 2009

On Sat, 15 Aug 2009, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 4:40 AM, Ian Hickson<ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> > On Mon, 10 Aug 2009, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
> >>
> >> "This specification defines several comparison operators for 
> >> strings."
> >>
> >> Really, operators? Is this the right word here? Maybe it should be 
> >> "several comparison operations on strings" or "several possible 
> >> comparisons for strings.
> >
> > What's wrong with operators? They are literally functions that the 
> > rest of the spec uses, it seems like the right word here.
> A function is not an operator. According to Wikipedia, "In mathematics, 
> an operator is a function which operates on (or modifies) another 
> function." A comparison is an operation on strings (data), not on other 
> functions.
> In traditional programming languages such as Java and C, an operator is 
> usually a language defined symbol, and occasionally a user defined 
> symbol. That also doesn't apply here. For instance, in Java, "operators 
> are special symbols that perform specific operations on one, two, or 
> three operands, and then return a result."
> What you're describing is likely a function or perhaps an operation, but 
> I don't think it's an operator in the commonly understood senses of the 
> term amongst the people likely to be reading this spec.

I've removed the entire paragraph, to side-step this issue altogether.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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